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Full text of "Virginia Wildlife"

aMi 





Bob Duncan 



H h, September. You and I 
u both know what that 
means. Its arrival signals we 
have officially entered into 
hunting season and all that it 
adds to our lives. Like a fa- 
mous outdoor writer once 
noted, my health always gets better in the 
faU. 

The month of September also brings 
out a flurry of reporting on wildlife re- 
sources. Prognosticators and technical 
forecasts abound right now. I could not 
be more excited to take my own "shot "at 
a forecast and report that game popula- 
tions are up across the state! Recreation- 
al opportunities are out there, and you 
need to take heed. 

It is great that such a bounty sup- 
ports our ability to increase bag limits for 
several species. Dove bag limits have 
been raised by 3, to 15 per day, and resi- 
dent goose bag limits have doubled to 10 
per day, another positive development. 
Other seasons and limits remain robust. 
Turkey numbers are strong, as are black 
bears and wliite-tails. 

You'll read inside about the coveted 
Radford deer hunt, which takes place 
each fall by lottery. I grew up in south- 
west Virginia and spent many a youthful 
summer day watching deer through the 
chain link fence bordering the Radford 
facility. During my college days, I held a 
summer job at the munitions plant on 




site, and my thoughts were 
never far from the abundant 
wildlife at RAAR Over the 
years, I have been so proud of 
the focus and dedication of 
our wildlife staff w^ho manage 
the herd at Radford. Ken Per- 
rotte's article speaks to their success. 

Both the Radford story and the Cob- 
ble Hill essay illustrate a point we all need 
to be reminded of from time to time. 
Deer management, like all wUdlife man- 
agement, relies upon sound science to 
achieve balance. "Too much of a good 
thing" means that white-tailed deer wUI 
outpace their habitat. The result: more 
deer in your backyard whittling down 
woody plants and causing crop damage 
(including my vegetable garden!). 
Achieving balance is integral to each 
piece of our mission here and, especially, 
to healthy wildlife populations. 

When achieving such balance trans- 
lates to more liberal seasons and bag lim- 
its, hunters can play an important role in 
sharing the bounty. Virginia's Hunters for 
the Hungry program makes it easy to do. 
They are ready, once again, to distribute 
venison to those less fortunate during the 
upcoming deer seasons. To learn more, 
go to www.h4hungry.org. And if you live 
in the area, consider attending their annu- 
al banquet in Salem on September 27th. 
CaU (800) 352-4868 for ticket informa- 
tion. I hope to see you there. 



Mission Statement 

To manage Virginia's wildlife and inland fish to maintain optimum populations of all species to serve the needs of 

the Commonwealth;To provide opportunity for all to enjoy wildlife, inland fish, boating and related outdoor 
recreation and to work diligently to safeguard the rights of the people to hunt, fish and harvest game as provided 
for in the Constitution of Virginia;To promote safety for persons and property' in connection with boating, hunt- 
ing and fishing; To provide educational outreach programs and materials that foster an awareness of and apprecia- 
tion for Virginia's fish and wildlife resources, their habitats, and hunting, fishing and boating opportunities. 

Dedicated to the Conservation of Virginia's Wildlife and Natural Resources 

VOLUME 69 NUMBER 9 



Commonwealth of Virginia 
Timothy M. Kaine, Governor 



HUNTING a FISHING 

LICENSE FEES 

Subsidized this publication 

Secretary of Natural Resources 

L. Preston Bryant, Jr. 

Department of Game and 
Inland Fisheries 

Bob Duncan 
Executive Director 

Members of the Board 

Ward Burton, Halifax 
Sherry Smith Crumley, Buchanan 
Wilham T. Greer, Jr., Norfolk 
James W. Hazel, Oakton 
C. T. Hill, Midlothian 
Randy J. Kozuch, Alexandria 
John W. Montgomery, Jr, Sandston 
Mary Louisa Pollard, Irvington 
Richard E. Railey, Courtland 
Thomas A. Stroup, Fairfax 
Charles S. Yates, Cleveland 

Magazine Staff 

Sally Mills, Editor 

Lee Walker, Ron Messina, Juha Dixon, 

Contributing Editors 

Emily Pels, Art Director 

Carol Kushlak, Production Manager 

David Kocka, Staff Contributor 

Color separations and printing by 
Progress Printing, Lynchburg, 'VA. 

Virginia midlife (ISSN 0042 6792) is pubUshed monthly 
by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland 
Fisheries. Send all subscription orders and address 
changes to Virginia Wildlife. P. 0. Box 7477, Red Oak, 
Iowa 51591-0477. Address all other communications 
concerning this publication to Virginia Wildlife. P. 0. Box 
11104, 4010 West Broad Street, Richmond, Virginia 
23230-1104. Subscription rates are $12.95 for one year, 
$23.95 for two years; $4.00 per each back issue, subject 
to availability. Out-of-countiy rate is $24.95 for one year 
and must be paid in U.S. funds. No refunds for amounts 
less than $5.00. To subscribe, call toll-free (800) 710- 
9369. Postmaster: Please send all address changes to 
Virginia Wildlife, P.O. Box 7477, Red Oak, Iowa 51591- 
0477. Postage for periodicals paid at Richmond, Virginia 
and additional entry offices. 

Copyright 2008 by the Vu-ginia Department of Game and 
Inland Fisheries. All rights reserved. 

The Department of Game and Inland Fisheries shall 
afford to all persons an equal access to Department pro- 
grams and facilities without regard to race, color, reli- 
gion, national origin, disability, sex, or age. If you believe 
that you have been discriminated against in any pro- 
grsim, activity or facility, please write to: Virginia 
Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, ATTN: 
Compliance Officer, (4010 'West Broad Street.) RO. Box 
11104, Richmond, Vu-ginia 23230-1104. 

"This pubhcation is intended for general informational 
purposes only and every effort has been made to ensure 
its accuracy The mformation contained herein does not 
serve as a legal representation of fish and wildlife laws 
or regulations. The Virginia Department of Game and 
Inland Fisheries does not assume responsibility for any 
change in dates, regulations, or information that may 
occur after pubhcation." 




R CONTENTS 





"^ n Jl 







About the cover Wliitc-tailcd deer are 
just one of many game species tliat 
await sportsmen who take advantage of 
the Department's annual quota hunts. 
Such events offer hunters the opportu- 
nity' to apph' prior to the season and be 
selected by random drawing to hunt 
waterfowl and/or big and small game. A 
non-refundable application fee of $7.50 
is applied to each hunt ($ 10 for the Rad- 
ford deer hunt, featured in this month's 
issue). You ma\' appl)' for a quota hunt 
by mail, by phone, or by visiting our Web 
site at www.HuntFishVA.com. 
©F.Eugene Hester 



T 71RGINT A 

\ WILD! rpE 

Magazine 
Subscriptions 

For subscriptions, 

circulation problems 

and address changes 

call: 

1-800-710-9369 

12 issues for $12.95 
24 issues for $23.95 
36 issues for $29.95 




Floating the Rapp 

b)' Bruce Ingnini 

The upper reaches of the river 
remain a paddler's delight. 

Radford Revisited 

b)' Ken Perrotte 

For those selected, this quota hunt 
serves up a lifetime of memories. 



Cobbble Hill Farm 

by David Kocka 

A farm manager discovers that 
hunters make good conservation 
partners. 

A Green School Blooms with Life 
by Gail Brown 

For students at Poquoson Elementary, 
going outside is contagious. 

Small Lake, Big Surprises 
by Marc N. McGlade 

Largemouth bass are just one of 
several species drawing anglers to 
Lake Orange. 

Riverkeeper' Rodeo Snags More 

Tlian Fish 

b)' King Montgomery 

Supporters join together to raise 
awareness about the Shenandoah. 



Be Wild! UveWUd! GrowWUd! 
by Spike Knuth 
Virginia's Amazing Hawks 



AFIELD AND AFLOAT 

31 Journal 

33 OnThe Water 

PowerYour BoatWith The Sun 



34 PhotoTips 



Get Involved With the North Atnen'can 
Nature Photography Association 



^^ A r 





THE UPPER RAPPAHANNOCK WILL Nlll 



by Bruce Ingram 



^ f o begin, let it be understood 

that I consider Northern Vir- 
ginia's Rappahannock River 
to be the most beautiful waterway in 
the Old Dominion. Its sycamore 
shrouded shorelines, water willow 
covered islets, isolated nature and, 
most importantly, lack of shoreline 
development create an experience 
that nurtures the sporting souls of 
those who love the state's wild 
places. 

John Odenkirk, the Virginia De- 
partment of Game arid Inlaiid Fish- 
eries (DGIF) biologist for the stream, 
is a fan as well. 

"The Rappahannock is an amaz- 
ing river for many reasons," 
Odenkirk tells me. "It is a relatively 



small drainage, small in comparison 
to the Potomac to the north and the 
James a bit further to the south — both 
of which often claim more publicity 
and notoriety for smallmouth an- 
gling in Virginia. However, the Rap- 
pahannock is an unspoiled gem, rich 
in history, with excellent populations 
of smallmouth bass, rock bass and 
redbreast suniish. 

"For pure scenery, the Rappa- 
hannock is unmatched due largely to 
the unique past municipal owner- 
ship of the riparian corridor — 4,232 
acres now saved forever by a perma- 
nent conservation easement. It has 
been fishing particularly well lately 
for smallmouth bass due to several 
strong years of natural reproduction. 




Peter Pfotenhauer prepares to shove off for 
a day on the river. Below: Riffles, boulders 
and ledges characterize much of the Rapp— 
especially that section of the river above 
Mott's Landing. 




A r^ 



LTURE YOUR SOUL. 



UPP|R 
RAi^AHANNOCK 



The slide put-in at Kelly's Ford makes access for canoeists 
and kayakers turn-key. 



"The removal of Embrey Dam 
has resulted in the re-establishment 
of all target populations: American 
shad, hickory shad, alewife and blue- 
back herring, as well as striped bass 
and other migrants. Yellow and 
white perch, lampreys and American 
eels have all been found above the 
old dam site in increasing numbers in 
recent years. But, it will take some 
time for populations of shad and her- 
ring to reach levels where they will be 
commonly encountered in upstream 
reaches." 

Bill Micks, who operates the Vir- 
ginia Outdoor Center in Fredericks- 
burg, speaks of the Rappahannock 
experience. 

"To really get into a groove with 
the river, I recommend that paddlers 
take a multiple day float and spend at 
least one or two nights on the Rapp," 
he says. "It's amazing how many 
people tell me that they have experi- 
enced a healing of the mind and soul 
after spending several days paddling 
the river. These folks come off the 
water with a different mindset." 




Kelly's Ford Bridge to 
Mott's Run Landing 

Distance: 24.5 miles 
Access Points: At Kelly's Ford, a river 
right put-in at a wooden step /canoe 
slide ramp below the Kelly's Ford 
Road Bridge. At Mott's Run Landing, 
a river right take-out at a wooden 
step / canoe slide ramp off River Road 
in Fredericksburg. Both access points 
feature gravel parking lots. 

Local school teacher Peter 
Pfoteiihauer recommends that float 
fishermen, to really experience the 
Kelly's Forci junket, spend three days 
and two nights on this section. 



Smallmouth are plentiful on the 
river and often reach keeper size. 



SEPTEMBER 2008 




For Morp Information 

Several conservation groups work within 
the Rappaphannock River watershed. 
These organizations often operate with 
inadequate budgets and work tirelessly on 
behalf of the river and its resources. From 
education to advocacy, from water quality 
monitoring to river excursions and pro- 
gram speakers, their projects focus on 
stream health and habitat protection. 
Consider giving them your support: 

Upper Rappahannock 

Rapphannock Friends and Lovers of 

Our Watershed 

www.RappFLOW.org 

Email: bev_hunter@earthlink.net 

(540) 937-5538 

Chris Russell, Volunteer Coordinator 

Upper Rappahannock Watershed Stream 
Monitoring Program 

http://www.rappmonitor.va.nacdnet.org 
This is a project of the John Marshall 
Soil & Water Conservation District 
(540) 825-8591 or Email: 
Stephanie.DeNicola@va.nac.dnet.net 

Middle Rappahannock/ 
Fredericksburg Area & Beyond 

Friends of the Rappahannock 
www.riverfriends.org 
Email: info@riverfriends.org 
(540) 373-3448 *Ask for info about 
water trail maps, shown above. 



The confluence of the Rapidan and Rappahannock remains a popular location 
to fish and camp. 



Whenever I have done this float in 
two days, I have felt rushed. The fish- 
ing, birding, and scenery are so out- 
standing that one can't possibly fully 
experience it all in two days. 

Besides several islands, the first 
major feature is the remains of Moun- 
tain Run Dam, which occurs 2.5 miles 
from the put-in and forms an easy 
Class I. Another dam-created Class I 
rapid occurs where the remains of 
Kemper Ford Dam rest, just under six 
miles from the put-in. 

At the eight-mile point lies one of 
my favorite places on the Rappahan- 
nock: Snake Castle Rock on river left 
and the ruins of Snake Castle Dam. 
The island here is an excellent place 
to enjoy a shore lunch and take scenic 
pictures. Be aware that the dam re- 
mains form a Class II rapid, and I 
have seen canoeists overturn here. 
Portage on river left or right. For the 
next three miles, you'll paddle by the 
entry of Summerduck Run on river 
left, drift past a number of islets, and 
run easy riffles and Class I rapids. Be- 
tween mile points 11 and 12, you'll 
see the riffles created by the remains 
of Crawley's Dam and the entry of 
Deep Run on river left. 

Passing Deep Run, you are about 
3.5 miles from the confluence of the 
Rappahannock and Rapidan rivers. 



FisbihgTips: 

Peter PfotcMbauer says thattbis line- 
up of lures and flies will produce from 
spring tbrougb fall: Pandit 1 00 to 
500 crankbaits, bairjigs, soft plastic 
jerkbalts and streamers. For summer- 
time action, be suggests hair bugs, 
poppers and Heddon Paby Torpedoes. 




Right: The author shows a nice small- 
mouth that he caught during his latest 
float on the Rapp. 



VIRGINIA WILDLIFE ♦ www.HuntFishVA.com 



For this section, the first major feature 
is Cliff Island and the best passage- 
way is down the right side. Next 
comes the remains of Powell's Dam, 
which creates riffles. Indeed, riffles 
occur with great regularity tlirough- 
out this section, as do islets, sycamore 
shrouded banks, and small bends in 
the river. 

At the 15.7-mile point of the float, 
you will arrive at the confluence of 
the Rappahannock and Rapidan. A 
rock garden looms at the confluence, 
and Micks, Pfotenhauer, and 1 have 
all witnessed the water both so high 
that a Class III existed and so low that 
water only trickled between the boul- 
ders. Portage on river left if condi- 
tions warrant. The confluence is a 
popular place to camp, as is the river 
right barik downstream. 

After the confluence come a se- 
ries of riffles, islets, and easy Class I 
rapids. Just 1.5 and 2.7 miles, respec- 
tively, below the confluence come 
two river right access points — 
Blankenbaker's and Hole in the Wall. 
Both are on public land; however, 
both are also only legally accessible 
via private property and are man- 
aged by canoe liveries. For more in- 
formation, contact the canoe liveries 
Listed at the end of this story. 



PirdihgTips: 

Expect ospreys ahd a bald eagle or 

two OH the Kelly's Ford float. Look 

for Louisiana waterthrusK scarlet 

tahagers, orchard orioles, and 

red-tailed hawks. The guttural 

croakihgs of great blue herons are 

commonly heard, and green 

herons are often seen. 

The Porch's Dam remains are the 
next major feature and create a se- 
ries of riffles. Pfotenhauer be 
lieves the 5 miles left to Motts 
Landing offer the best water 
levels when the Rappahan- 
nock typically becomes low, 
as summer progresses. The 
major features remaining in 
elude a Class I below where 
Horsepen Run enters on river left 
and a Class I at the ruins of Ballard's 
Dam. The last 1.5 miles offer flat 
water and easy paddling. 

Mott's Run Landing 
to Old Mill Park 

Distance: 5.5 miles 
Access Points: The river right take- 
out is off Caroline Street at Old Mill 




Osprey ©Gregory J. Pels 



Park. No formal ramp exists; 
boaters will have to pull their crafts 
up a short incline on river right. Park- 
ing is available in a gravel lot. 

Caution: For such a short float 
through the city of Fredericksburg, 
tliis section flaunts a number of major 
rapids. The float begins calmly 
enough, nevertheless, with Pretty- 
man's Camp Rapids and the Maze. 
The former is a Class I-II rock garden, 
and the latter, a half-mile long. Class I 
garden that occurs a little more than a 
mile into the trip. Next comes nearly 

©Bruce Ingram 




EPTEMBER 2008 



a mile of mild water before the Class 
I-II rapid created by the remains of 
Taylor's Dam. 

Below the Interstate 95 bridge, 
you will come to the remains of Em- 
brey Dam, the removal of which in 
February of 2004 created great excite- 
ment among river runners of all per- 
suasions. In tliis area, you will also 




Rock ledges and islets are common 
throughout the upper reaches. 



encounter the Class II-III Randy 
Carter Rapids and Brumble's De- 
light, a Class I-II rock garden. 
Portaging is possible on either side 
of the Rappahannock. 

Below the remains of Embrey 
Dam is Laucks Island. Take the 
right passageway for the most 
water. However, be forewarned 
that during high and normal water 
conditions. Class I to III rapids form 
on this side of the island. Portage or 
take out on river right along Fall 
Hill Avenue. 

From the half mile or so be- 
tween the end of Laucks Island and 
the Route 1 Bridge loom more 
rapids: the Class I to II Corner, the 
Class I to III Becky's Hole, and the 
Class I to II Washing Machine. 
These highly variable rapids fea- 
ture a number of possible paths — 
again depending on water levels. 
As is true on any river, paddlers 
should strongly consider contact- 
ing canoe liveries in order to learn 
about current stream levels and 
conditions. After you pass under 
the Route 1 Bridge, you will need to 
paddle only a few minutes before 
reaching Old Mill Park. D 

Bruce Iiigiwn is tlic author of The James 
River Guide, The New River Guide, nnd 
The Shenandoah /Rappahannock Rivers 
Guide. To obtain a copy, contact bigraui at 
P.O. Box 429, Fincastle, VA 24090 or Ivjii- 
gram(a^ juno.com. 




Trip Planner 

Clore Brothers Outfitters 
(540) 786-7749 
www.clorebros.com 

Fredericksburg Area Tourism 
Visitor Centers-Spotsylvania 
(800)654-4118 
www.visitFred.com 

Fredericksburg Visitor Center 
(540) 373-1776 or (800) 678-4748, 
www.fredericksburgva.com/visi- 
tors/contact/contactUs.asp 

Friends of the Rappahannock 

www.riverfriends.org 

(offers for sale The Rappahannock 

River Water Trail Guide) 

Rappahannock River Campground 
(800) 784-PADL (7235) 
www.canoecamp.com 

7776 Rappahannock Scenic River Atlas 
link from www.riveri^riends.org 

The Shenandoah and Rappahannock 
Rivers Guide 
www.ecopress.com or 
beJngram@juno.com 

USGS Real Time Stream Data for 

Virginia: 

waterdata.usgs.gov/va/nwis 

DGIF Region 5 Office in 

Fredericksburg: 
(540) 899-4169 
www.HuntFishVA.com 

Virginia Outdoor Center in 

Fredericksburg: 

(540) 371-5085 or (877) PLAY-VA2 

www.playva.com 

Lodging 

Littlepage Inn: 

(540) 854-9861 or (800) 248-1803 

www.Littlepage.com 

Richard Johnston Inn: 

(540) 899-7606 or (877) 557-0770 

www.therichardjohnstoninn.com 



Left: Remains of the Embrey Dam 
can be seen here, a place where 
float fishermen and outdoor enthu- 
siasts now enjoy an unbridled river. 



VIRGINIA WILDLIFE ♦ www.HuntFishVA.com 




evisited 



Quality deer 

management 

at work. 

by Ken PeiTotte 

Zhe string of blaze or- 
ange-clad hunters loops 
around a small, gated 
■Radford Army Ammuni- 
tion Plant in the pre-dawn late No- 
vember chill. Stark lighting illumi- 
nates the scene, shining down on 
smiles of anticipation and promoting 
chatter as the group patiently clears 
security and passes the foreboding 
gates. 

This morning begins a day that 
most hope will deliver to them the 
proverbial "buck of a lifetime." Each 
began applying years earlier for tliis 
opportunity, a hunt once touted in 
Outdoor Life magazine as one of 
America's top 12 deer hunts. 

That lofty plaudit summons ex- 
pectations of monster white-tailed 
deer beyond what wildlife biologists 
with the Virginia Department of 
Game and Inland Fisheries would 
care to instill in the thousands who 
apply 

Joe Smith of Lisbon, Ohio, saw 
the magazine article a decade ago 
and immediately began applying. 
Brothers Ralph and Ron Petcher were 
also in the queue. Ralph lives in 
Roanoke, but Ron gets the prize for 
traveling the greatest distance to 
make the 2007 hunt, trekking from 
Fort McMurray in Alberta, Canada. 



A buck leaves his odor, produced by 
scent glands in his nose, on this 
branch. Such behavior is just one of 
many communication tactics used by 
deer. 



Now in its 24th year, this unique 
partnership between a state agency 
and a military installation represents 
one of the earliest models for the 
"Quality Deer Management" (QDM) 
program. Hunters are lured by an in- 
expensive opportunity to tag a buck 
approaching a respectable "Boone 
anci Crockett Club" trophy antler 
score of 140 inches. 

Biologist Betsy Stinson of the 
DGIF's Blacksburg office has man- 
aged the Radford hunts for the last 15 
years. A hunter herself, Stinson came 
to the Department following an 
eclectic career that includes such di- 
verse jobs as cancer researcher and 
crewmember on a salmon-fishing 
boat in southeastern Alaska. 

Stinson and the DGIF team of bi- 
ologists, techtiicians and other assort- 
ed helpers greet hunters with the 
welcome aroma of brewiiig coffee. 

Stinson reviews the stringent 
safety rules and procedures to follow 
if a shot is taken. Violations, such as 
shooting across a road or roaming 
more than 50 yards from the assigned 
stand, will get a hunter ejected imme- 
diately. To help ensure hunters take 
high-percentage shots, only four 
shotgun shells may be taken to the 
stand. 

The room darkens. Stinson nar- 
rates a slideshow history of QDM ef- 
forts at Radford, including a segment 
showing photos of what is consid- 
ered a respectable Radford buck. 

It's a refresher course, of sorts, for 



©Ken Perrotte 



to hunt an antlered buck Radford 
hunters must have previously been 
drawn for and completed a hunt 
where they were only permitted to 
take an antlerless deer. 

The goal is to take bucks having a 
minimum outside antler spread of 
15.5 inches, Stinson reminds hunters, 
"But, don't worry, we won't hang 
you from the stand if you take a 
smaller buck. We understand that 
some smaller bucks make a fine tro- 

phy." 

Finally, she asks hunters to tally 
the number of deer observed, both 
bucks and does, as part of the Depart- 
ment's data collection effort. 

After ferrying hunters to their 
stands, Stinson and her crew fan out 
across the complex. In radio commu- 
nication, they listen for shots and oc- 
casionally drive past stand locations 
looking for the signal ribbon that 
hunters hang when they've shot at a 
deer. 

A Beneficial Partnership 

"We have a very good relation- 
ship with the Army," Stinson says, 
crediting cooperation of Radford 
Natural Resources Manager Len Di- 

Below: Hunters wait in the pre-dawn 
darkness to clear the security check- 
point at Radford, where strict guide- 
lines must be followed. During the 
hunt, they will tally the number of deer 
observed, including does (shown right). 



loia and the installation's safety and 
security staff. 

She calls QDM "a good fit" at 
Radford. 

"Radford offers an excellent op- 
portunity for DGIF to assist a partner 
in achieving their deer management 
goals while also providing a class- 
room for our hunters and staff to see 
how QDM works and the results that 
can be achieved," she explains. 

Stinson notes herd management 
objectives for Radford are to first 
maintain a healthy deer population. 
Yardsticks include yearling doe and 
fawn weights, fawn-to-doe ratios, 
and lactation rates; maintaining a 
roughly 1 to 1 sex ratio; harvesting 
mature bucks (4.5 years and older); 
and, maintaining the herd below the 
biological carrying capacity. 





The early morning mood is jovial as Betsy Stinson gives hunters a rundown on 
the rules and regulations associated with the Radford hunt. 



October spotlight counts provide 
information on deer numbers, favvn- 
to-doe ratios and sex ratios, and help 
me determine my harvest goals. 

"Our quality deer management 
st\'le at Radford focuses on total herd 
health and habitat health," Stinson 
says. 

Habitat work also improves con- 
ditions for other fauna, including rare 
species such as Henslow's sparrows 
and regal fritillary butterflies. 

Some changes have ensued as 
the program evolved. The 15.5-inch 



spread rule was instituted to move 
hunters toward harvesting older age 
class bucks. Slugs, instead of buck- 
shot, became the required ammuni- 
tion for shotgun hunts. The Army 
only permits hunting with shotguns 
or archery at Radford. 

Bow hunters have also been 
given added flexibility and can use 
portable climbing stands within 50 
yards of existing, permanent stands. 

"We're always looking for ways 
to make the hunt better, within budg- 
et limits and the constraints we have 




in working in a high security area," 
Stinson says, adding that a big im- 
provement in recent years was re- 
placing old wooden stands with 
comfortable, safer metal stands. An- 
other purchase was a hydraulic 
Huntmaster stand for mobility-im- 
paired hunters. 

Deer Coming In 

Deer seem to be everywhere as 
the morning progresses. The rut is in 
full swing. Bucks are roaming and 
looking for accommodating does. 
Activity is brisk at the station where 
hunters register deer and technicians 
collect biological data. Joel Blevins, a 
voung man from Marion, grins from 
ear to ear as his big buck is pulled 
from the truck. 

"I took him just as the fog was 
lifting. 1 spotted him with a doe just 
before the fog settled in and I didn't 
think I'd ever see him again. I called 
my father from the stand to tell him I 
saw a really nice buck, but it was too 
far away," Blevins recalls. 

Fortunately for Blevins, the deer 
hadn't roamed far. A more elated 
phone call to dad followed in short 
order. 

Ed Nelson, a Blacksburg resident 
employed at nearby Virginia Tech, 
also srniles as he cradles the antlers of 
the 8-pointer he took at 90 yards 
through his shotgim's field sights. 

"Tliis is the biggest deer I've ever 
taken," Nelson says. "I'm having him 
mounted." 

Stinson surveys the scene with 
approval. She likes it when hunters 
see deer and get deer. 

Radford's open, rolling terrain 
makes for good deer viewing. Using 
the Nov. 17, 2007 hunt as an example, 
Stinson says hunters saw an average 
of 7 bucks and 8 does, with some 
counting more than 20 bucks. Sight- 
ings vary from hunt to hunt. On one 
stand, a hunter saw only one doe; 12 
days earlier another hunter on the 
same stand saw 18 bucks and 12 
does. 



Stands are numbered and hunters can 
usually follow well-maintained trails 
j; to and from their hunting platform. 



1 1 




"Obviously not all the bucks are 
within range or make the spread cri- 
teria, but as we know from our 
agency's hunter satisfaction surveys, 
just seeing deer is an extremely im- 
portant component in determining 
hunter enjoyment," Stinson says. 

Some may mistakenly perceive 
that Radford is akin to a high-fenced 
Texas-style ranch, but differences 
abound. First, as Stinson explains, 
DGIF resists the commercialization 
and privatization of wildlife re- 
sources, while promoting the princi- 
ple of conserving wildlife as a public 
trust resource. Radford's fence is for 
military security, not to prevent deer 
from leaving the property. It was 
built to keep people out. While it 
does inhibit deer movement, it isn't 
"deer-proof," Stinson says. 

A hunter patiently waits for an opportu- 
nity as the morning sun creeps higher. 
Hunting platforms at Radford are com- 
fortable and concealed, with most offer- 
ing ample shooting lanes and the 
chance to see approaching deer. 



J^ndford - By the Numbers 



1. How big is "BIG" for a 
Radford buck? 

Hunters seeking a 160-inch class buck 
should save their money and head for a game 
ranch. Quality Radford deer usually range be- 
tween 120 and 140 inches on the B&C scale. 
The DGIF staff working the hunt has collect- 
ed rough B&C scores since 1998. 

Stinson says the average "legal" buck at 
Radford for the last two seasons was 2.5 
years of age or older, had a 17 to 18-inch- 
wide outside spread and gross scored about 
120 inches. 

"The highest B&C gross score we have on 
record was a 10-point killed in 2006 that 
grossed 146 Vs inches," Stinson says. The 
highest scoring deer in 2007 was a 9-point 
buck with a 19 Vs-inch outside spread. It 
grossed a 138 Vs score. A 218-pound live 
weight buck was killed in 2005, and a 231 
pounder was killed in 1988. 

2. How hard is it to draw a hunt? 

In 2007, it took most bow hunters four 
years to draw for the archery antlerless hunt, 
and 2 years for the archery either-sex (buck) 
hunt. Most gun hunters were drawn in 3 to 4 
years for the shotgun antlerless hunt and 5 

12 



years for the shotgun either-sex (buck) 
hunt. 

Hunters accrue one preference point for 
each year of application. Most applicants 
come from Virginia, but Radford has drawn 
applicants from 20 states. 

3. Do many women and young 
hunters participate? 

Youth hunters must be at least age 12 to 
apply and, if drawn and under 18, accompa- 
nied by an adult possessing a hunting li- 
cense. The adult may not hunt. In 2007, 8 
hunters were younger than 18. Nine of 280 
total hunters were female. 

4. What are the harvest trends? 

Outside antler spread and buck age corre- 
late nicely at Radford, Stinson says. Harvest 
data from 1995-2007 show that, of bucks 
meeting Radford's 15.5-inch spread criteria, 
82 percent were 4.5 years or older; 16 per- 
cent were 3.5 years old; and 2 percent were 
2.5 years old. 

5. How many applications are 
received annually? 

More than 1,300 hunters applied in 
2007. Hunt dates are set in March and appli- 



cations become available in the Depart- 
ment's "Hunting and Trapping in Virginia" 
annual digest and on the Web at www.Hunt- 
FishVA.com. 

6. With the application fees and 
$ 1 hunt fee when drawn, does 
the program pay for itself? 

No. Fees from applications and hunts 
don't cover the cost of the hunt and habitat 
work. DGIF budgets each year to cover costs. 
Each hunt requires 7-8 professional paid 
staff members and 1 or 2 trained volunteers. 

7. Who else on the DGIF team helps 
make the Radford hunts a success? 

Stinson credits former Wildlife Division 
Chief and now Department Director Bob 
Duncan for ongoing support, as well as Deer 
Program Leader Matt Knox. Radford team- 
mates include Marvin Gautier, Bill Bassinger, 
Mike Mabe, Allen Boynton, Joe Watson, 
Jason Blevins, and Johnny Wills, as well as 
Larry Crane, Bill Keffer, Clarence Stebar, 
Nana Keffer, Mack Walls, Roger Houck, and 
Mike Miller. Watson, Gautier and Mabe man- 
age Radford's planted food plots and main- 
tain stands and trails. 

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Unlike many commercial hunting 
ranches, deer living on Radford aren't 
supplementally-fed, stocked, or bred 
to cultivate the biggest, baddest 
antlers. And, not insignificantly, most 
trophy hunts at a ranch cost upward 
of $3,500 with the biggest trophy 
bucks fetching stratospheric 
amounts. An annual Radford applica- 
tion costs $10. When drawn for the 
hunt, the fee is also $10. 

"Clearly," Stinson observes, "this 
is within financial reach of most of the 
hunting public. 

"As with any type of 'fair chase' 
hunt, there are no guarantees at Rad- 
ford. You might be lucky enough to 
kill a quality buck and you might not. 

"I think some folks come in with 
unreasonably high expectations at 
times, and I have seen hunters go out 
disappointed, but this is certainly the 
minority. It is a rare deer hunter who 
doesn't understand that they will 
often come home empty-handed. 
Most of our hunters are pretty realistic 
about it if they don't get a deer. 

"We provide hunters an opportu- 
nity to enjoy a day inside the Radford 
arsenal. If they are fortimate to also 
take home some venison for the freez- 
er it is just icing on the cake of the Rad- 
ford experience," Stinson says. 



Sun Sets on Successful Day 

As the afternoon winds down, 
Joseph Jarrell of Mount Airy, N.C., 
enjoyed a little extra icing on his cake. 

Jarrell, making his second Rad- 
ford trip for a buck, watched Stinson 
and Wise County District Biologist 
Jolmny Wills measure the antlers of 
his 11-pointer. They called out num- 
bers to technician Marvin Gautier of 
the Department's Wytheville crew. 
Besides the trophy buck, Jarrell took a 
big-bodied doe earlier in the day. 

Other hunters are returning from 
their stands, many without firing a 
shot. Still, they are smiling. Most ex- 
pressed appreciation for the opportu- 
nity as Stinson and other crew mem- 
bers delivered them back to the Rad- 
ford gate. 

"It is a rare privilege to be able to 
manage this deer herd and to see the 
fruits of our team's hard work. Rad- 
ford is a tremendous natural history 
classroom for anyone who loves the 
outdoors," Stinson says. 

"I love getting to go out and 
watch a heavy -bodied buck chasing a 
doe, see northern harriers circling a 
field of little blue stem, sit quietly as a 
red fox trots up the road with a vole in 
its mouth, see two gobblers in a 




Wildlife Technician Marvin Gautier 
inspects a deer jawbone to assess its 
age. Data collected helps to characterize 
overall health and age structure of the 
deer at Radford. 




The size of trophy buck antlers is 
among the measurements that techni- 
cians and biologists collect to assess 
herd health and age structure. 






Joel Blevins of Marion excitedly called 
his father from his stand to advise him 
of his success after claiming this nice 
buck. 



stand-off, look at blue cedar berries 
against the snow, watch two mature 
bucks spar, or watch a barred owl 
watch me! Radford is like a little 'wild 
kingdom' — and the hunts allow us to 
share some of that with our hunters," 
she adds. 

She thinks most hunters value the 
total package: the beauty of the day, 
the scenery, seeing deer and other 
wildlife, talking to other Radford 
hunters, and just being outdoors, 
hunting. 

"It sounds corny, perhaps, but our 
team really gets a lot of gratification 
seeing the excitement and pleasure on 
the faces of our hunters and hearing 
about their day at Radford. It makes 
our day when we make their day," 
Stinson concludes. D 

Ken Perrotte is a King George County resi- 
dent and the outdoors columnist for the 
Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star newspaper. 



SEPTEMBER 2008 




A Model for Stewardship, 

Sustainability and 

Wildlife Conservation. 

essay by David Kocka 
photos by Lee Walker 

arriett Hanger owns and op- 
erates Cobble Hill Farm in 
Virginia's lush Shenandoah 
— — Valley. The main house was 
designed by Staunton's famous archi- 
tect, T. J. Collins, and built in 1936 by 
Harriet's mother, Harriet Echols 
Ewing. 

Evidence of Cobble Hill's commit- 
ment to conservation and wildlife 
greets you when you enter the lane 
leading to the residence: On either side 
of the driveway sits a brick column 
adorned with a bear. But other evi- 
dence is not so apparent. The entire 
196-acre property is protected by a 
conservation easement. 

Jim Pile, Cobble Hill's farm man- 
ager, runs a cow and calf operation 
from May to November, where up to 
40 head of cattle graze 115 acres of 
grassland. Cobble Hill Farm is also 
known in the business as a "Tier 3 
Conservation Security Program" 
farm, one where livestock are fenced 
off from all water features and two 
miles of wildlife borders enhance the 



vr 




4 







Nestled in the Shenandoah Valley 
IS this charming farm owned by 
Harriett Hanger. Above: Farm manager 
Jim Pile discs one of several food plots 
that augment 115 acres of grassland. 



property. This designation comes 
from the Natural Resources Conser- 
vation Service (NRCS), who identi- 
fies and rewards those farmers who 
are meeting the highest standards of 
conservation and environmental 
management in their operations. 

"Tier 3" means the farm must 
have addressed all applicable re- 
source concerns. Pile rotates his cattle 
every 7 days to a new pasture. Doing 
so gives each field a 45 to 60-day 
break, which naturally improves the 
forage base. Seventy-four acres of 
managed woodlands and a 2-acre 
meadow of native grasses and wild- 
flowers, part of the Wildlife Habitat 
Incentives Program, enhance the 
open fields. Plantings of oats, rye, 
buckwheat, sunflower, and clover 
satisfy the needs of resident wildlife 
and birds. 

Last September, Cobble Hill en- 
tered into the Deer Management As- 
sistance Program (DMAP), run by 
the Virginia Department of Game 
and Inland Fisheries. The goal: to im- 
prove the quality of the herd by re- 
ducing its overall population. DMAP 
cooperators throughout Virginia col- 
lect condition data (weights, ages, 
antler measurements, for example) 
on all deer harvested by hunters on 
their respective properties. Biologists 
with the Department then summa- 
rize that information and report back 
with suggestions on what steps 




Jim Pile and biologist David Kocka talk 
about the management plan recently 
implemented on the farm. 

SEPTEMBER 2008 




Up to 40 head of cattle graze the land at Cobble Hill between May and November. 



might be taken to better reach their 
overall management goals for the 
land. According to Pile, the program 
allows for more intensive, cus- 
tomizeci management on a small 
farm like Cobble Hill. 

Controlling deer at Cobble Hill 
presents a challenge, because the en- 
tire property lies within tlie corporate 
limits of the city of Staunton. The 
herd must therefore be hunted exclu- 
sively with archery tackle. Improving 
the quality of the deer herd often in- 
volves placing increased harvest 
pressure on the doe segment, because 
they are the reproductive agents for 
the population. Keeping their num- 
bers in check means that the popula- 
tion will remain stable. 

Will shooting does wipe out the 
deer? No, but hopefully it will reduce 
overall density, which translates to 
fewer deer-vehicle collisions and less 
damage to area crops and gardens. 
White-tailed deer will continue to be 
an integral part of the ecosystem and 
culture in cities like Staunton, just at 
lower levels. 

Jim Pile has discovered that al- 
lowing limited hunting at the farm 
also makes good business sense. In 
today's world, small-scale farmers 
face many challenges as they com- 
pete with mega-farms and foods im- 
ported from far reaches of the globe. 
Pile reports that the revenue from 
hunters significantly boosts liis farm 
income. Hunters also provide an 
added measure of surveillance on the 
property. 



"Hunters have taught me so 
much," he smiles. 

Cobble Hill was chosen as the re- 
gion's 2007 Wildlife Conservation 
Farm of the Year. According to Bobby 
Whitescarv'er, District Conservation- 
ist with the NRCS, "Cobble Hill is a 
model farm for not only forage pro- 
duction anci beef cattle; it is a model 
for stewardship, sustainability and 
wildlife conservation." 

Jim Pile would like to keep it that 
way. D 

David Kocka is a district biologist with 
the DGIF, covering Augusta, Rockbridge 
and Rockingham counties. 




Kocka and Pile (right) study antler 
sheds, which help them track growth 
and health of the Cobble Hill herd. 



15 




Birder Jane explains flight patterns of tiie bald eagle and turkey vulture. The vulture holds his wings in a "V" and wobbles as he soars. 

A Green School Blooms v\ 



story and photos by Gail Brown 

When is the right time to 
watch a butterfly or count 
baby bluebirds? Some 
might say not during the 2007-2008 
school year at Poquoson Elementary 
School (PES) — a year to be remem- 
bered for its dust, orange plastic con- 
struction fencing, and rumble of 
heavy ec^uipment. Waiting until the 
fall of 2008 when their new, state-of- 
the-art, environmentally-friendly 
"green school" would open might be 
better. But waiting for just the right 
moment is not always best for na- 
ture — and at PES what's best for the 
environment is what the kids want to 
do. And besides, in this close-knit 
coastal community, Poquoson's 
young natviralists can count on their 
adult friends and mentors to find the 
time tc^ help them stay close to all 
those wild things they love. 

When Poquoson's young biolo- 
gists can't get to the bugs because of 
the backhoes, they call on friends like 
Virginia Master Naturalists Clyde 
Marsteller and Sheila Kerr-Jones to 
help. And before you can say "patent 
leather beetle," Marsteller and Kerr- 



Jones drop by with a suitcase full of 
insects, worms and other crawly 
things that are fun to learn about 
when you can see them up close. So, a 
year of dust, noise and machinery? 
No reason to give up butterfly watch- 
ing. Temporary loss of some bluebird 
houses? Nothing the kids can't work 




Not all eggs are the same. Students 
compare mallard duck and bluebird 
eggs. 



around. Time to get in touch with na- 
ture? At PES the time is always now. 

"Our efforts to get closer to na- 
ture started in earnest about eight 
years ago, when we began working 
on our outdoor classroom," says 
third grade teacher Pam Camblin. 
"The kids, parents, PTA, scouts, and 
high school volunteers built our first 
raised flowerbeds so that classes 
could plant flowers and bushes that 
attract butterflies." And like all other 
environmental projects at PES, their 
butterfly gardens have bloomed as 
nature intended. Now, activities in- 
clude participation by all third 
graders in Journey North's symbolic 
monarch migration — a program that 
allows students to send paper butter- 
flies to fellow students in Mexico as 
an expression of shared stewardship 
and friendship. 

Going outside is contagious and 
over the years more and more little 
feet could be seen exiting the build- 
ing to spend time weeding, filling 
birdfeeders, checking gauges at the 
weather station, and testing the soil 
in the wetland area behind the 
school. Kids in teacher Stacy Bal- 
ance's class did extensive soil stud- 
ies and worked to clean up the wet- 

VIRGINIA WILDLIFE ♦ www.HuntFishVA.com 




K-- .A^_ 



■K^i 




th Life 



land so that the birds and small animals 
would have a clean home, too. 

But, like a caterpillar bursting its 
chrysalis, growth and the passage of 
time took its toll on the "old PES" and 
led citizens and the school board on a 
search to find the right architectural 
firm to build a new school tor their com- 
munity. 

"The driving force behind our com- 
munity having a green school 
was our former Superin 
tendent. Dr. Jonathan 
Lewis," states Cam 
blin, "and before he 
left for a position in 
Northern Virginia, 
he worked to find 
an architectural 
firm (VMDO of 
Charlottesville) 
to bring our 
dreams to real 
ity." 



Vifg 



\n'i^ 








Above: Poquoson Girl Scout Troop 
1172 continues to maintain the 
gardens that they worked so hard 
to help establish. The troop hung 
pinecone birdfeeders, pulled weeds 
and spread mulch. 
Below: Not all nests are the same. 
Birds make their nests from differ- 
ent materials. 



"It was the community and their 
trust in their educational leaders that 
moved this project along," says Dr. 
Lewis. "Their support and love of 
their surroundiiigs made all the dif- 
ference." 

But Dr. Jeffrey Carroll, principal 
of PES, believes it is also the passion 
of the teachers that drives the pro- 
grams forward and provides the chil- 
dren with so many opportunities to 
interact with the natural world. No 
doubt it is the combined effort of 
everyone involved in this gem of a 
school, where enjoying the out-of- 
doors and protecting natural re- 
sources are making all the difference 
in everyone's determination to work 
together to get the kids outside. 

And the opportunities will grow 
because the new Poquoson Elemen- 
tary School itself will be a teaching 
tool, featviring a geothermal system 
(allowing an exchange of energy be- 
tween the school and the earth that 
will both heat and cool tlie building); 
a "V" shaped roof over the media 
center (directing rainwater into a per- 
forated gutter and splash pools in the 
wetland); signage and platforms for 
birtis such as osprey and — the best 
part — a wooden walkway into the 
wetlands that will allow more in- 
depth environmental studies. 




1 




Students identified a wetland on campus, took soil samples and cleaned up the 
area. 



"We get to see the egg, we see the babies, 
and they are so cute. " (Mrs. Camblin's clasSj 



But while the sky's the limit for 
future watershed experiences in the 
wetlands behind the school, today 
it's the bluebird boxes scattered 
along the front of the building that 
cause spirits to soar and kids' faces to 
light up like they've seen a miracle, 
as indeed they have. And to help 
with their bluebird trail, the kids call 
on friends Dot Silsby and Harry Carl- 
son. Dot is never too busy to share 
her over 40 years' experience protect- 
ing bluebirds, and when Silsby and 
Carlson aren't monitoring and main- 
taining over 100 bluebird boxes in 
Newport News City Park, they have 
all the time in the world to share their 
knowledge with Poquoson's young 
birders. 

Beginning in early April Cam- 
blin's students spy birds checking 
out the various boxes before select- 
ing just the right one in which to 
build a nest. Once the birds have set- 
tled in, Silsby works closely with the 
students as they take weekly notes 
and record the type of nest in each 
box, the number of eggs, and then the 
number of babies. Over the weeks, 
under Silsby's guidance the kids 



18 



learn that bluebird families are also 
tightly knit: Newly fledged birds 
might even be seen carrying food to 
new siblings hatched a little later in 
the spring. 

When they need more informa- 
tion about other feathered friends, 
the kids can call on "Birder Jane" 
Frigo, a preschool teacher replete 
with a big floppy bird-hat and 
sparkling eyes. When not teaching or 
leading bird walks at Newport News 
City Park, Birder Jane visits the 
school with her collection of bird 
nests, eggs (very large and very 
small), and years of considerable 
knowledge. After leading activities 
that help the stucients hone the obser- 
vation skills needed to assess their 
surroundings, Jane encourages the 
kids to go out in their backyard and 
". . .look, listen, and notice who's talk- 
ing." 

"When you hear the common 
voices in your yard, you can begin lis- 
tening for different voices and look- 
ing for things that are different. You 
will hear more than you see and you 
never know what you will find." 

With all this opportunity to be- 




"We go in groups of five and six, including /s. 
for bluebirds. " 



VIRGINIA WILDLIFE ♦ vwvwHuntFishVA com 



II 




come leaders in environmental stew- 
ardship, you might think the kids at 
Poquoson wouldn't have a concern 
in the world. But the fact that their 
new school will have a giant sundial 
on the front of the building is causing 
some consternation among Poquo- 
son's sleepyheads. While the teachers 
are glad the kids will learn another 
way to tell time, perceptive dawdlers 
know this ancient timepiece may 
well cost them one of the best excuses 
for tardiness known to kids since the 
first schoolhouse door swung open. 
But then, most of those excuses were 
for the birds, anyway. 

Gail Brown is a retired principal for 
Chesterfield County Public Schools. She 
is a lifelong learner a\ui educator, and 
her teaching and adniiinstmtive ex- 
periences in grades K-12 have 
taught her that project-based envi- 
ronmental programs teach science 
standards, promote core values, and 
provide exciti}ig educational experi- 
ences for the entire conmumity. 




Art classes made clay tiles with natural 
items for their new school. 



Ciblin. She's our teacher. We check the boxes 




A patent leather beetle makes a sound when it rubs its wings against its 
abdomen. Listen carefully: It may say something funny! 



SEPTEMBER 2008 



The world-record 

white bass hails from 

Lake Orange in north central 

Virginia. Other fish species 

roam this scenic lake, too. 

by Marc N. McGlade 

Think for a moment about Major 
League Baseball's home run 
record. Talk about a hallowed 
high- water mark. Perhaps for serious 
anglers, the quest for the next world- 
record largemouth bass reached the 
same level. Whichever record you 
choose to follow, understand that 
state-record fish in Virginia carry 
prestige, bragging rights, and one 
heck of an accomplishment for the 
angler. 

Sometimes in life, the best gifts 
are tucked within small packages. 
That happens in fishing, too. There 
are bodies of water that are popular. 



sprawling, and contain many fish. 
There are also smaller, less popular 
destinations that harbor massive 
fish. 

Many anglers across the Com- 
monwealth — particularly bass ad- 
dicts — forego Orange County's Lake 
Orange for the famed Lake Anna, 
that "other" lake straddling the coun- 
ty. Of course. Lake Anna is a tremen- 
dous fishery in its own right, but less- 
er-known Lake Orange is worthy of 
some ink. 

This small, 124-acre Department - 
owned lake is located near Wilder- 
ness and the town of Orange, in this 
historic and quaint county of the Old 
Dominion. The beautiful rolling hills 
that surround the lake aren't the only 
thing pleasing to the eye: The fish 
species in tliis lake are plentiful, fat 
and cooperative. 

Lake Orange opened to the pub- 
lic in 1963, and since then some siz- 
able fish have been caught. Ironically, 
a white bass put little Lake Orange on 




A white bass once taken in the lake 
captured the attention of record seekers. 
Illustration by Duane Raver. 

the map. The current all-tackle 
world-record white bass weighed aii 
incredible 6 pounds, 13 ounces, and 
hails from this scenic lake. That's 
right, a world record! The Interna- 
tional Game Fish Association (IGFA) 
recognizes this record fish. Oddly, 
fisheries biologists contend they are 
almost certain that no white bass are 
present any longer in Lake Orange. 

"We have sampled this lake ex- 
tensively almost every year since that 
fish was caught — not necessarily 
looking for white bass, but conduct- 
ing other fisheries investigations," 




_a 








says John Odenkirk, a DGIF fish- 
eries biologist charged with manag- 
ing Lake Orange. "However, the 
equipment we used should have 
caught them using electrofishing, 
gill nets and trap nets, but we have 
never seen even one white bass. 
It's a great lake for largemouth bass, 
black crappie and catfish. It's also a 
good lake for walleye and sunfish — 
bluegill and redear." 



To ensure the authenticity of 
the records, the DGIF established 
the State Record Fish Program in 
1985 as a separate entity from the 
Citation Program. New minimum 
qualifying weights were established 
for each species, and stringent, more 
restrictive rules were implemented. 



Right: Professional bass fisherman Kurt 
Dove, of Fairfax, admires a feisty largemouth 
bass taken from the lake. 
Photos by Marc McGlade 




The Lake Orange Lowdown 

For fisheries information and regula- 
tions regarding Lake Orange, visit on- 
line at www.HuntFishVA.com oi con- 
tact the regional DGIF office in Freder- 
icksburg at (540) 899-4169. 

The boat ramp is open year-round for 
private boat owners, and anglers may 
fish 24 hours a day. Lake Orange is a 
trolling motor-only lake; the use of 
gasoline engines is strictly prohibited. 

To reach Lake Orange, take Interstate 
95 to Route 3 West (near Fredericks- 
burg). Stay on Route 3 toward 
Culpeper, and then turn left on Route 
20. Continue on Route 20 toward Or- 
ange and make a left on Route 629 (La- 
hore Road), then turn left on Route 739 
(Lake Orange Road) to the marina park- 
ing lot. 

To contact Angler's Landing (the con- 
cessionaire at the lake), phone (540) 
672-3997. 




Shoreline access is good at the lake, and picnic tables and grills make this a great 
spot for a family outing. Below left: the crappie population in the lake is strong 
according to DGIF biologists. 




These rules included: state-record 
fish must qualify by weight only, using 
certified state-inspected weighing 
scales; a professional fisheries biologist 
must confirm the species; and, if re- 
quested, the biologist must be allowed 
to excimine stomach contents to ensure 
there are no unusual items such as lead 
siiikers tliat would add weight to the 
fish. 

About the Catch 

On July 31, 1989, Ron Sprouse, 

the concessionaire at the time for 

Lake Orange, hauled in a 

beast of a white bass the 

likes of which had 

never before been 

seen — or since. 

This particular 
catch is one that 
still baffles Depart- 
ment staff. Why, 
then, did Lake Or- 
ange produce the 
state-record and 
world-record white bass? 
"It is possible that this 
world-record fish was 
introduced with a 
load of stocked fish 



(possibly channel catfish) that came 
from Brookneal Hatchery (now 
called Vic Thomas Striped Bass 
Hatchery) on the Staunton River," 
Odenkirk says. "There are some — or 
should I say were some — white bass 
in this system, and one or a few fry or 
fingerlings could have come in with 
river water We have since made ad- 
justments to be sure fish are not 
moved in this manner unknowingly. 
In this scenario, one fish may have 
had a competitive advantage to grow 
rapidly, forage on gizzard shad, and 
reach record proportions" (in the un- 
likely event that it did, in fact, survive 
the introduction and early life phase). 

Could Another Be LurkingP 

Could another state-record fish 
be swimming in the lake, regardless 
of the species? 

"It would not be my sleeper 
choice for producing a state record of 
anything, but the population dynam- 
ics are very good with the 'trophy' 
slot limit producing exceptional 
largemouth bass," Odenkirk says. 
"Also, black crappies grow very well 
and may have a shot at reaching 
record size here." 

VIRGINIA WILDLIFE ♦ www.HuntFishVA.com 




The larger of two boat ramps can han- 
dle most boats that choose to launch 
at the 124-acre lake, where gasoline 
engines are prohibited. 



Besides largemouths and black 
crappies. Lake Orange draws anglers 
from across "the Pond." There is a 
contingent of anglers from the Umted 
Kingdom and elsewhere in Europe 
who vacation in Virginia just to pur- 
sue carp at Lake Orange. 

"They catch, treat most delicate- 
ly, and release both grass carp and 
common carp," Odenkirk explains. 

The Department keeps close tabs 
on Lake Orange, fertilizing it to in- 
crease fish production — which must 
be working, based on fisheries data. 
Bluegill and gizzard shad provide the 
forage for jumbo largemouth bass in 
the Piedmont lake. In fact, the bluegill 
population is quite strong at Lake Or- 
ange; it is behind only Lake Curtis in 
this district. 

DGIF has a kindred spirit in the 
current concessionaire, Darrell 
Kennedy. It helps to have dedicated 
outdoorsmen feel the pride of owner- 
ship. 

"He's been a great asset to the 
Department and the lake, and he 
takes pride in the conservation and 
management of this resource," 
Odenkirk says. 

The Department has created a 
few marked fishing reefs. They sink 
trees and other attractors at these 



markers, although other spots across 
this fine lake also harbor bmsh. 

A small amount of steuiding tim- 
ber remains on the main lake near the 
launch ramp that is always worth a 
milk run for anglers. Additionally, 
the creek arm farthest away from the 
marina, near the dam, has some tim- 
ber in it, although much of it is below 
the surface. 

A roomy fishing pier is available 
for handicapped and shore-bound 
anglers that holds bait, brush, panfish 
and hungry bass. The fish attractors 
scattered in the lake help anglers lo- 
cate fish when fishing from a boat. In 
addition to the pier, shoreline access 
is good, and ample picnic tables and 
grills make this a great spot for a fam- 
ily outing. Based on the sampling 
and management efforts of the De- 
partment, Lake Orange is a choice 
spot for anglers. 

"Orange is a great lake," admits 
Odenkirk, "with good fish popula- 
tions in a beautiful rural setting." 

Indeed, small packages can hide 
the best presents. D 

More N. McGInde is a writer and photogra- 
pher from Midlothian. As an avid angler, 
Marc travels across Virginia and other states 
in the South writing and photographing his 
adventures. 




SEPTEMBER 2008 



©Dwight Dyke 



23 



KU/iAhlf^ ^{fM^ SnasJ 




essay and photos 
by King Montgomery 

The Shenandoah Riverkeepei® is 
part of the Potomac Riverkeeper© 
non-profit organization and both 
have the same mission: to protect aiid 
restore water quality in the Potomac 
and Shenandoah rivers and tributar- 
ies though community action and en- 
forcement. Both organizations aim to 
spread awareness of the pollution 
threatening our rivers and streams 
and use all means available to make 
them cleaner. 

In recent years, the Shenandoah 
has suffered serious fish kills that have 
alerted people that pollution from a 
number of sources is getting worse. 
The Shenandoah Riverkeeper^', Jeff 



24 



Kelble, is on the fish kill task force, 
which is trying to identify the prob- 
lems and recommend steps to correct 
them. Other task force members in- 
clude representatives from the DGIF, 
the Department of Environmental 
Quality, other state agencies, and uni- 
versities. 

While the Shenandoah does have 
pollution issues, it is by no means 
dead and is still conducive to people 
taking part in water sports along its 
course. And that is tlie reason behind 
the rodeo held on July 19, 2008 at the 
Low Water Bridge Campground in 
Bentonville: to show folks that they 
still can fish, canoe, kayak, and tube 
the river without problems and have 
a lot of fun in the process. The rodeo 
also raises needed funds for the river- 
keeper organization. 



Above: Fredericksburg's Tom Ehrhard with 
a scrappy Shenandoah River smallmouth 
bass, as canoes slide quietly by. 
Right: Briery Branch, a bluegrass band 
from the Harrisonburg area, donated 
their time to play for rodeo guests. 
Below: Barbeque beef pork and chicken 
with all the trimmings were served up, 
ensuring that no one left the event hungry. 




VIRGINIA WILDLIFE ♦ wwwHuntFishVA com 




ore Than Fish 



S^ienandoah Riverkeeper Rodeo 
July 19, 2008 ,yn^ 






This year's rodeo was supported 
by a number of groups, including the 
Potomac River Smallmouth Club, the 
Friends of the North Fork of the 
Shenandoah, the Friends of the 
Shenandoah and others, and by con- 
cerned citizens who care about this 
historic and pretty river. 

The Shenandoah has its problems, 
says Kelble, but it generally is healthy 
and has a good population of small- 
mouth bass and other gamefish that 
are there for the catching. The rodeo, 
he further states, demonstrates to the 
public that the river is available for all 
the water sports it once supported. 

The rodeo began at 7 a.m. with a 
briefing to some of the mid-Atlantic's 
best smallmouth bass fishing guides 
from Virginia, West Virginia, and 
Maryland, along with their fishing 
clients who rounded out the teams. 
Fees paid to the guides were donated 
to the Shenandoah Riverkeeper . The 
briefing outlined the novel rules for 
the fishing contest, which was catch- 
and-release, and points were based on 
type and length of fish caught. Bonus 
points were given for landing a carp, 
but anyone who caught a largemouth 
bass would be penalized points. These 
are, after all, smallmouth bass aficiona- 
dos. 

At day's end, anglers reported 
catching chunky, spunky, and healthy 




4 

4 



Supporting Guides Vli^^^Jr; ) 

' Jeff Kelble - Shenandoah Riverkeeper JwW* 
Irltt Stoudenmire - Canoe the New Outfitters 
L.E. Rhodes - Hatchmatcher Guide Service 
left Murray ol Murray's Fly Shop 
lohn Colert\an of Murray's Fly Shop 
Colby Trow ol Mossy Creek Fly Fishing Shop 
*'iari Trow o( Mossy Creek Fly Fishinj Shop 
'"'"1 Hayes - Mark Kovach Fishini Services 
Mark kovach • Mark Kovach Fishing Services 



ij angler's tnn 



S'lan Kei|,s White Fly Shoppe and »i- 
"Sty Wrtsmj,,^ . pi^ fishing School anil^^^'" '"^ 
Chuck Kratt 
Bob Cramer 
Duncan McCrath 




-^. 



Above: T-shirts and hats were available to all participants and 
guests. The guides listed supported the event by contributing their 
fees to the river organization. 



smallmouth bass up to 20 inches with 
most just under a foot in length. I man- 
aged to catch fish on both the fly roci 
and spinning rod, and all of them ap- 
peared healthy. These were the first 
Shenandoah smallies I'd caught in 
years and it was good to be back on 
this beautiful river again and catching 
fish. 

The public arrived at 5 p.m. and 
the price of their ticket included mem- 
bership in the Shenandoah Riverkeep- 
er' organization, a sumptuous bar- 
becjue feast with all the trimmings, and 
foot-stompin' entertainment by the 
Shenandoah Valley's own Briery 
Branch Bluegrass Band, who donated 
their performance to the conservation 
effort. 

After dinner and before the music, 
the fishing contest winners were an- 
nounced by Jeff Kelble. First place 



went to anglers Zach Ehrhard and Bill 
Busch, who fished with gtiide Bryan 
Kelly, who n.ms the Angler's Inn in 
Harpers Ferry, WV Bryan is a noted 
Shenandoah and Potomac River 
guide. Jeff Kelble rowed Tom Ehrhard 
(Zach's father) and me to a second- 
place finish. Apparently the other 
teams caught too many largemouths! 

But on this day, all were winners: 
the anglers, the supporters, the visi- 
tors, the citizens of Virginia and, most 
of all, the river. D 

King Moiitgoiiicn/ is a frequent contribu- 
tor to Virgiiiia Wildlife. Contact Jiim at 
Kinganglerl @aol.com. 

For More hiformation: 
Shenandoah Riverkeeper^ 
540-837-1479 
www.shenandoahriverkeeper.org 




^ 

mF^ 




m 



i i 




Virginia's 



story and illustrations 
by Spike Knutli 

y or thousands of years, birds 
A — of prey have been both ad- 
/ mired and hated by 

maiikind. Hawks were used by royal- 
ty to hunt. With the establishment of 
game preserves in Western Europe, 
the hawks became the hunted and 
were resented by preserve managers 
of the day, because they would occa- 
onally take a game bird or mammal 
for food. This narrow view — of 
hawks as competitors of game birds 
and mammals — is still prevalent 
among some preserve managers and 
hunters. It helps explain why, as re- 
cently as the 1960s, bounties were 
being paid on the birds. 




Broad-winged hawk 





Many birdwatchers resent the 
fact that hawks kill and eat song- 
birds! Indeed, hawks have the audac- 
ity to sit close to their bird feeders 
where songbirds congregate, and 
catch "their" birds! Of course the 
hawk is only doing what is natural 
and, being an opportunist, going to a 
ready food source. Others have been 
quick to accuse any and all hawks of 
taking poultry, which is revealed in 
the fact that almost all hawks carry 
the "chicken hawk" label. Again, 
hawks — like any critter — will go to 
the most convenient food source at 
times. 

Along with owls, osprey and ea- 
gles, hawks are known simply as rap- 
tors. Four different types are most 
common and recognizable. The bu- 
teos are the soaring hawks, which cir- 
cle high in the air on broad wings and 
fan-like tails. The accipiters are rapid 
flying, long-tailed hunters with 
short, rounded wings. The falcons 
are fast, streamlined hawks with 
long, pointed wings and long, nar- 
row tails. The harriers are slim 
hawks with long, rounded wings 
and long tails. 

The buteos are 
mainly birds of the 
fields, mountains, 
plains and open wood- 
lands. Yet, the broad- 
winged hawk inhabits 



Red-shouldered hawk 



VIRGINIA WILDLIFE ♦ www.HuntFishVA.com 



r 



i\l 



WW 



4 ^11 1144 Vd 4 




4awks 



woodlands and rarely leaves, ex- 
cept when traversing open country 
to another woods and during migra- 
tion. The red-shouldered hawk grav- 
itates to swampy woodlands, while 
the rough-legged hawk breeds in the 
Arctic and may only visit open lands 
and mountain valleys in the winter. 
The red-tailed hawk is the most 
common. This is the bird we see 
perched in trees, on poles, or on 
posts along our highways. 

Falcons, too, are birds of open 
areas. The peregrine, or duck hawk, 
was native to the mountain regions 
of the Appalachians and Alleghenies 
and has just recently been re-estab- 
lished there. It even nests on high-rise 
buildings in cities as if they were 
cliffs. The merlin, or pigeon hawk, fa^ 
vors scrubby barrens or marshlands, 
and the kestrel, or sparrow hawk, fre- 
quents farmlands and brushy, open 
lands. 

The accipiters favor woodlands 
or brushy marshes. The goshawk, a 
more northerly species, favors mixed 
deciduous and coniferous forests of 
Canada and rarely wanders below 
the Mason-Dixon Line. The Cooper's 
hawk likes scattered woodlands or 
brushy marshlands, and the sharp- 
shinned hawk prefers open wood- 
lands with occasional thickets. 

The northern harrier, or marsh 
hawk, is a bird of the grasslands, 
marshlands, farmlands, and coastal 
plains. Maybe you've seen a large 
brown bird with a white rump patch 
in fall, winter or early spring, hover- 



SEPTEMBER 2008 




Rough-legged hawk 



ing or tacking back and forth over 

fields and marshes. This is the female 

harrier, considerably larger than the 

grayish male. So 

different are 

they that they 

appear to be 

two distinct 

species. 

Built to Hunt 

Our hawks hunt in a 
variety of ways: some from a 
perch, some by hovering, and 
others by gliding or soaring. 
Some hawks are especially swift; 
others, very maneuverable; some are 
patient at waiting and watching; still 



Red-tailed hawk 



others may actvially stalk their prey. 
The buteos, or soaring hawks, soar on 
thermals or on the wind in wide cir- 
cles over open lands or perch 
motionless on a high branch 
or snag, from which they 
can drop down on a 
vole, mouse, rabbit, 
scjuirrel or snake. Red- 
tailed, red-shouldered 
and broad-winged 
hawks all hunt this 
way. 

One buteo that can 
deviate from the norm is the 
rough-legged hawk, a bird 
capable of hovering over its 
prey until the precise mo- 
ment to drop. It usually hunts early 
in the morning or at dusk, almost 
owl-like in manner. It has softer, qui- 
eter featliers and partial, facial disks, 
much like an owl, and probably 
hunts by sound as well as sight. 
Rough-legged hawks have smaller 
feet, perfect for perching in the small 
trees of the Arctic. 





Merlin 



V 



V 




Peregrine falcon 



'J'l ^^ 



Falcons are normally aerial pred- 
ators and strike on the wing. They ac- 
tually make a fist with their feet and 
knock their prey out of the sky, or 
snag them with sharp talons. The ex- 
ception is the little kestrel, which 
hovers over a spot where it has de- 
tected its prey — a mouse, vole, lo- 
cust, grasshopper, small snake or 
lizard. Kestrels are commonly seen 
on wires, poles, or at the tops of small 
trees or shrubs in croplands. 

Accipiters have short, rounded 
wings and a long tail for maneuver- 
ing amid trees and through low, 
shrubby growth, like wax myrtle on 
the coast, where they prey mainly on 
birds. They'll fly through the woods 
~>yor scattered shrubs at mid-treetop 
level or just below, surprising the 
winged prey in a swift pursuit that 
often ends with a chase on foot. 
Sharp-shinned and Cooper's hawks 
can often be seen in bayberry and 
wax myrtle thickets around the coast 
as they hunt for yellow-rumped war- 
blers, song sparrows and other win- 
tering birds. They commonly hunt 
even in suburban residential areas in 
winter and ciuring spring or fall mi- 
grations. 

The eyesight of 
hawks is certainly one 
of the keenest of any liv- 
ing creature. They are 
able to see in color, and 
their eyes adjust focus quick- 
ly while diving or flying at 
high speed. Equipped with 
special muscles that control 
_ the curvature of each lens, 
hawk eyes give the bird great ac- 
curacy in distance perception. 
Eyes are placed at the sides and to 
the front of their head, enabling 
hawks to see well as they pursue 
and strike their prey. A bony shield 
projects from the skull, protecting 
their eyes should they pursue their 
prey through heavy brush. 

Adciitionally, like most birds, 

hawks are able to detect near 

ultraviolet (UV) light. 

This gives rodent 

hunters, like the 

rough-legged hawk 

and kestrel, an ad- 

vantage when 




1 



searching for voles, because vole 
urine and feces absorb UV light. Hav- 
ing the ability to see dark-appearing 
urine and fecal signposts in vole run- 
ways, these raptors are able to identi- 
fy areas of high vole density and can 
even track a continuous urine trail to 
a single animal. 

The flying ability of hawks is also 
amazing. Accipiters and falcons are 
designed for maneuverability and 
speed. Peregrines have been known 
to exceed 100 miles per hour in a 
"stoop." Accipiters have amazing 
quickness and agility. The buteos are 
able to soar for hours supported by 
broad, rounded wings and fanned 
out tails. The talons and 
feet of hawks also show 
purposeful design. 
Prey taken in flight is 
either grabbed by 
one foot or struck 
down sense- 
less with a vi- 
olent blow. 




' ' Kestrel, female 

The size, thickness and curvature 
of tlieir talons vary in relation to how 
they are used. Hawks that feed most- 
ly on mammals have short, powerful 
toes and talons. The bird eaters have 
long, slender toes, with bumps and 
pads on the undersurface for grasp- 
ing. The legs of hawks that feed on 
venomous snakes are covered with 
an armor of rough scales to protect 
them from snake bites. 



28 



*S'4V 



VIRGINIA WILDLIFE ♦ wwwHuntFishVA.com 



\ 



Their beaks also vary in relarion 
to types of prey targeted. The strong, 
hooked bills are perfect for tearing 
and pulling flesh apart. Falcons have 
a notch in their bills, which enables 
them to break the necks of their prey. 
And the peregrine has specially de- 
signed contours in its nostrils which 
break up the air as it dives at high 
speeds, enabling the bird to breathe. 

Feats of Migration 

Another amazing thing about 
hawks concerns their migration. 
Some young birds migrate ahead of 
their parents, having never flown the 
route before. Falcons and accipiters 
travel singly, hunting as they go. Oth- 
ers fly fast and direct to their winter- 
ing grounds, not feeding at all along 
the way. More northerly breeding 
birds often fly the farthest south. 
More southerly species may not mi- 
grate at all. 

It is during migration that we are 
offered the best opportunity to see 
hawLs. They are day migrants, usual- 
ly moving along in groups that are so 
spread out that they may be unrecog- 
nizable as flocks. Most of them follow 
north-south ridges. Each year they 
follow definite flight lanes. They 
move steadily south, stopping only 
occasionally to feed or rest. 

They take wing in late morning 
when the heat of the sun warms the 
ground, which begins to create 
thermals. These are up- 
drafts of air around 
mountain peaks 
and ridges, 
which en- 
able the 
■> - birds to 




soar and coast effortlessly. Hawks 
also use updrafts caused by wind 
blowing up against a mountain cliff, 
then rising. Along the coasts, hawks 
use the wind and thermals off the 
ocean and land to fuiinel down into 
the capes and points where they 
gather in large groups before setting 
out over open water. Numerous 
other species of birds are also migrat- 
ing through these areas, providing 
the hawks with a traveling food 
source. 

Soaring groups of hawks are 
called "kettles." Broad-winged 
hawks and red-shoukiered hawks, in 
particular, form kettles. They circle at 
different levels, all the time moving 
slowly southward. If there are 
enough of them, the formation may 
resemble a slow-moving whirlwind 
or whirlpool, or a boil- 
ing "kettle" of water. 
Hawks don't use as 
much energy soaring 
as they do when 
flapping. They soar 
upwards on one 
thermal and then 
leave it, gliding 
downward and 
southward before 
encountering an- 
other that lifts 
them back on 
high to repeat the 
process. If there 
are no thermals, 
they will use 
wind-created up- 
drafts, as air is de- 
flected upwards 
off of hills, ridges, 
buildings or cliffs. 



iW^ 





Cooper's hawk 



29 




Sharp-shinned hawk 



This gives them the extra lift needed 
to go many effortless miles. 

Hawks may begin migrating as 
early as mid-August, but the main 
migration period begins in mid-Sep- 
tember. Broad-winged hawks are the 
most numerous species migrating 
during this time and provide the 
greatest spectacle. But the first flights 
of sharp-shins are not far behind. In 
October, red-tailed hawks from the 
north, and red-shouldered, sharp- 
shinned and Cooper's hawks are at 
their peak. November sees red-tailed 
movements still strong and some 
straggling red-shouldered, sharp- 
shinned (sharpies) and Cooper's. 
This is when the falcons — peregrines, 
merlins, and kestrels — begin to peak. 
In December, there are still good 
numbers of red-taileds, and you have 
a good chance of seeing golden ea- 
gles, rough-legged hawks, and 
northern harriers. This is when the 
largest accipiter, the goshawk, may 
visit Virginia in the northern moun- 
tains. Of course, small numbers of 
kestrels, peregrines. Cooper's, red- 
taileds, and northern harriers often 
over-winter in the mid-Atlantic, and 



Be Wild! Live Wild! Grow Wild! is a reg- 
ular feature that highlights Virginia's 
Wildlife Action Plan, which is designed 
to unite natural resources agencies, 
sportsmen and women, conservation- 
ists and citizens in a common vision 
for the conservation of the Common- 
wealth's wildlife and habitats in which 
they live. To learn more or to become 
involved with this new program visit: 
bewildvirginia.org. 



sometimes the more northerly 
rough-legged may visit as well. 

Part of the Natural Order 



In recent years, more and 
more people have come to ap- 
preciate the grace and beauty of 
hawks and see them for what 
they are: an integral part of 
the natural order. They play 
an essential role in our world 
of wildlife, a world of inter- 
dependency. Hawks are 
predators that live by preying 
on other living creatures, often 
keeping populations of certain 
species — like rodents — in 
check. They were designed 
perfectly to do what they 

do! n 



Spike Knuth is an 

avid naturalist 

and wildlife 

artist. For over 

30i/earshisnrt- 

ivork and writ- 

iii^ have appeared 

ill Virginia Wildlife. Spike is 

also a member of the Virginia 

Outdoor Writers Association. 



Northern harrier, female 



30 





JOMmi 



2008 Outdoor 
Calendar of Events 

Unless otherwise noted, for more infor- 
mation on workshops go to the "Upcom- 
ing Events" page on the Department's 
Web site at www.HuntFishVA.com. 

September 1: Dove season opens. 

September 20: Fh/ Fislun;^ Workslwp, 
Riven Rock Park, Harrisonburg. 

September 27: Hunters for the Hungry 
Banquet, Salem. 

October 18: Youth Fall Turkey Hunt 
Day. For youth 15 years of age and 
younger. 

October 18: Family Fishing Workshop, 
Bear Creek Lake State Park, Cumber- 
land. 

November 15: Firearms deer season 

opens, n 




a^ 



by Beth Hester 



National Audiikvi Society Field Guide 

to the Mid-Athvitic States ' 

edited by Peter Alden, Brian Cassie et al. 

2007 Knopf, 13th Printing 

ISBN: 0-679-44682-6 

Duracover with color photographs 

"The Mid-Atla)itic region is an area of 
outstanding beauty, enormous geological 
and biological contrasts, and such North 
American superlatives as the largest iva- 
terfall (Niagara), biggest estuary (Chesa- 
peake Bay), and America's most famous 
hiking trails (Appalachian). " 

- Brian Cassie 



Visit any bookstore, and you will 
find the shelves of the 'Nature' sec- 
tion heaving under extravagant ar- 
rays of field guides that cover every- 
thing from rocks and lichen, to wild- 
flowers and the niglit sky; their tanta- 
lizing and colorfvil spines an open in- 
vitation to spend wild amounts of 
money on multiple guides to help 
identify practically every plant and 
creatLire in existence. 

Fortunately for the ordinary ad- 
venturer with the average bank ac- 
count and travel range, there exists 
the 13th printing of the National 
Audubon Society Field Guide to the Mid- 
Atlantic States, a compact and com- 
prehensive look at 1,000 of the re- 
gion's wildflowers, trees, mush- 
rooms, mosses, fishes, amphibians, 
reptiles, birds and mammals. Mea- 
suring a mere 4x7x1/2", the volume 
also includes an engaging overview 
of the mid-Atlantic region's ecology 
and natural history, its weather pat- 
terns, and the constellations of its 
night sky. 

The editors have thoughtfully 
provided an additional section, 
which features the parks and pre- 
serves of each state. Virginia's 40,767 
square miles are well represented, 
from the Great Dismal Swamp and 
Back Bay areas, to the Shenandoah 
National Park, to the Chincoteague 
Wildlife Refuge. Each entry contains 
a brief habitat biography and current 
contact information. 

Numerous color photographs 
make the identification of birds, trees 
and wildflowers an uncomplicated 
and straightforward matter, which 
adds greatly to the enjoyment of tlie 
outdoor experience. My own copy is 
now well-thumbed, the comers of its 
robust cover ever so slightly rounded 
from being stuffed into the glove box, 
the tackle bag and the day pack. Rec- 
ommended without reservation. D 




"Harry, I know you're an 
apprentice and new to turkey 
hunting but that isn't the way 
you call turkeys." 




Commonwealth (/Virginia 

Department of Game and Inland Fisheries 

LIFETIME 







Lifetime Licenses 

Open the door to a lifetime of enjoyment 

in the great outdoors of Virginia with a 

lifetime freshwater fishing, hunting 

or trout license! 

It's an investment that keeps on giving. 

For more information visit: 

littpy/www.HuntFish VA.com/fonns/ 
lifetime_licenses/instructions.html 

or call 1- (866) 721-6911 



SEPTEMBER 2008 




II hunters (whether licensed or exempt from being licensed) who plan to 
hunt doves, waterfowl, rails, woodcock, snipe, coots, gallinules or 
moorhens in Virginia must be registered with the Virginia Harvest Informa- 
tion Program (HIP). HIP is required each year and a new registration number 
is needed for the 2008-2009 hunting season. To obtain a new HIP number 
migratory game bird hunters can register online at www.VAHIP.com or call 
1-888-788-9772. 

In addition,Virginia waterfowl hunters must obtain a Federal Duck Stamp 
and the Virginia Migratory Waterfowl Conservation Stamp to hunt water- 
fowl in the state. The annual Migratory Waterfowl Conservation Stamp can 
be purchased for a fee of $10.00 (resident or non-resident) fromVDGIF li- 
cense agents or clerks who sellVirginia hunting licenses or from the Depart- 
ment's Web site. To request collector stamps and prints, contact Mike Hinton 
at (540) 35 1 -0564 or by e-mail at ducks@hintons.org. 




The deadline for submitting photographs for the 2008 VirginiaWildlife 
Photography Contest is November 3, 2008. Winning photographs will appear in the 
special March 2009 issue of VirginiaWildlife magazine. For more information, visit the 
Department's Web site at: httpyAvww.dgif.virginia.gov/events/photo-contest.pdf. 



32 



%0^^ 




'J^^^jjfL^^ 



Coigmtulatioiis to Tyler Bell, who har- 
vested this turkey on May 2nd /;; ]amcs 
City Comity. Vie bird had an 11-inch 
beard and weighed 1 8.5 pounds. Twelve- 
year-old Tyler hunts in good company, as 
he is the son of Conservation Police Offi- 
cer Baxter Bell. 



l-800-2:]7-;17l2 



Subscribe to the NEW 



Virginia Pepartnunt of (awe and Inland Fliherlei 

^ Outdoor Report 



For a free email subscription, visit our 

Web site at www.HuntFishVA.com. 
Click on the Outdoor Report Link and 
simply fill in the required information. 



« 



f\ 



VIRGINIAWILDLIFE ♦ vwvw.HuntFishVA com 



. ^'■^I^. 




by Jim Crosby 



Power Your Boat With The Sun 



/have always been fascinated by 
the ability of photovoltaic cells to 
produce electric power. The lack of 
anything beyond a prototype and its 
high cost pushed the idea out of mind 
until recently. My curiosity piqued 
when I began seeing a lot of farm 
gates powered by a 12-volt battery 
and a solar panel. I was told they 
were reliable and worked well over 
an extended period of Hme. You can 
imagine my surprise when I spotted 
a name brand solar panel on the shelf 
of the local, big box store for a little 
over $40. I just had to have it! 

Solar power is clean, abundant 
and worry-free. A modestly priced, 
solar (photovoltaic) trickle charger 
that can eliminate dead batteries on 
my boat, car, RV or ATV, or any occa- 
sionally used mode of transportation 
is now available and almost beyond 
comprehension. These new solar- 
powered trickle chargers can main- 
tain your batteries over long periods 
of storage, even over winter lay-up! 
One big problem with boat batteries 
during winter lay-up is that they be- 
come discharged and, once dis- 
charged, they will freeze and burst. 

Price has kept many boaters from 
considering the solar trickle charger 
over a modestly priceci model that 
operates off the end of an extension 
cord from a house, shop or bam. Like 
all new technology, mass production 
has brought the price down to a com- 
parable level with the extension cord 
variety. There is no comparison to the 
freedom offered by a cordless, sun- 
powered one. You can permanently 
mount it to your vessel with screws 
or glue, and wire it into your electri- 
cal system. It will silently provide a 
constant trickle charge whenever 
and wherever its face is lit by the sun, 
or even in partial shade. 



The one I recently purchased is 
marketed by Coleman and rated at 
300 milliampere @ 15 volts, for 1.5 
ampere hours of DC current totaling 
4.5 watts. In partial shade with no 
load, it produced 13 volts. The manu- 
facturer states it is recommended for 
medium-sized boats and trolling mo- 
tors. The unit measured 13.8 x 10.7 x 
0.6 in. thick — a convenient size for 
easy mounting on most boats — and it 
came with a 10-foot power cable, 
male cigarette lighter adapter, pair of 
battery clamps, stainless steel screws 
and instructions. Coleman says it will 
extend the life of your boat's battery 
by maintaining a healthy voltage. 

West Marine's current catalog 
lists several solar-powered trickle 
chargers: a 150-milliampere model 
for $44.99 and a 500-milliampere 
model for $99.99. Of course they 
carry a whole line of phc^tovoltaic 
panels, with prices all the way up to 
$2,600 for a 24-ampere model of 390 
watts that could power an electric 
trolling motor aU day long, day after 
day. 

Let's dispel some myths about 
solar panels: They can trickle charge 
all types of 12-volt batteries including 
automotive, deep-cycle, tractor, gel- 
cell and heavy-duty batteries; they 
do not drain your battery at night be- 
cause they are usually equipped with 
a built-in diode that prevents any re- 
verse current; the trickle charger type 
will not overcharge your battery, 
while some of the larger units require 
a charge controller that monitors 
your battery's voltage and adjusts 
the flow of current down to a mainte- 
nance charge; and, they do not re- 
quire a constant supply of full sun- 
light because most will produce 
some electricity even under a cloudy 
sky or in partial shade. 



As all power boaters can attest, 
the final, big disappointment when 
getting ready to go on the water is 
discovery of a dead battery. I can't re- 
member how many times I towed 
my boat to a ramp, launched it, 
climbed aboard, turned the key in the 
ignition, and wondered if there was 
enough power in the batteiy to start 
the engine. On occasion there was 
not. Jumping a battery on a boat is a 
very dangerous proposition, with the 
extreme likelihood of generating a 
spark in a volatile atmosphere. A 
solar panel offers you a safety net. 

With petroleum alternatives 
being feverishly sought around the 
world, maybe some day soon we will 
be able to power our boats entirely by 
sunlight. But for now, maintaining 
your battery's charge via sunlight 
seems like a very good idea whose 
time has finally arrived, n 

Please Note: I always welcome feed- 
back, input and / or suggestions from 
readers. My email address is: jecros- 
by(f'*comcast.net. 




SEPTEMBER 2008 



33 




by Lynda Richardson 



Get Involved With the 
North American Nature Photography Association 



J-'m going to assume that the ma- 
jority of folks who read this col- 
umn are lovers of nature photogra- 
phy. If this is true, you'd be interested 
in kiiowing about the North Ameri- 
can Nature Photography Associa- 
tion, or NANPA, "the first and only 
association in North America com- 
mitted solely to serving the field of 
nature photography." 

NANPA's mission statement re- 
veals that the organization "pro- 
motes the art and science of nature 
photography as a medium of com- 
munication for nature appreciation 
and environmental protection. 
NANPA provides education and in- 
spiration, gathers and disseminates 
information, and develops standards 
for all persons interested in the field 
of nature photography. NANPA fos- 
ters professionalism and ethical con- 
duct in all aspects of our endeavors." 
Sounds like a great organization, 
doesn't it? 

I have been a member of 
NANPA since its inception, when 
just a handful of people were excited 
about creating a nature photography 
organization. Now, with over 3,000 
members we are looking forward to 
celebrating our 15th anniversary at 
our upcoming annual summit and 
trade show in Albuquerque, New 
Mexico, February 18-21, 2009. 

Over the past 15 years, I have 
worked on various NANPA commit- 
tees, led a summit break-out session, 
and served on the board. I have sat 
spell-bound in summit presentations 
by some of the top nature photogra- 
phers in the world and I have shared 
experiences, techniques, shooting lo- 
cations, photographs, and advice 
with my new friends and fellow pho- 
tographers. It continues to be a won- 
derfully rejuvenating and inspira- 
tional experience. 

One thing I particularly appreci- 
ate about NANPA is the programs it 
offers high school and college-aged 

34 



students through its foundation. 
Each year, students can apply for the 
week-long scholarship programs 
held during NANPA's amiual sum- 
mit at various locations across the 
country. Last year, I nominated high 
school student Chris Wirth of 
Powhatan, Virginia, for a scholar- 
ship. He won and traveled to Destin, 
Florida, this past February and had 
the time of his life. (You might re- 
member Chris's fabulous winning 
insect photographs from past March 
issues of the Virginia Wildlife annual 
photography competition.) 

I strongly believe in NANPA and 
all that it stands for. I hope that you 
will take a look and see what the or- 
ganization has to offer you by check- 
ing their Web site at wwAv.nanpa.org. 
Student scholarship deadlines are 
normally in November, so explore 
the foundation section of the site for 
more details. And, good luck! 

Maybe I'll see you at the upcom- 
ing summit in Albuquerque, New 
Mexico. It will be awesome, I prom- 
ise! n 




During a past NANPA summit field trip near 
Albuquerque, NM, I captured this image of 
sandhill cranes at the Bosque Del Apache 
National Wildlife Refuge. ® Lynda Richardson 

You are invited to submit one of your best 
images to "Image of the Montli," Virginia 
Wildlife Magazine, P.O. Box 11104, (4010 
West Broad Street), Richmond, VA, 23230- 
1104. Send original slides, high-quality 
prints, or high-res jpeg files on disk and in- 
clude a self-addressed, stamped envelope or 
other shipping method for return. Also, 
please include any pertinent informarion re- 
garding how and where the image was cap- 
tured and what camera, film and settings 
you used. I hope to see your image as our 
next "Image of the Month"! 



Mium^^MIMlM^ 




Congratulations go to Jackie Pamenter ofStandardsvillefor this lovely image of cherries cov- 
ered in heavy dew. Jackie captured this photograph in her backyard using an Olympus C-700 
Ultra Zoom digital camera. Great shot, Jackie! 

VIRGINIA WILDLIFE ♦ vwiw.HuntFishVA.com 



I 





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